Since April 2017, an innovative new project has been helping people in Skelmersdale find new routes back to health. The Social Prescribing Project is being piloted by Well Skelmersdale to help people tackle the wider issues that may be affecting their health. These may include family and community connections, housing, environment, jobs – all of which can contribute to someone’s overall health and wellbeing.
The Social Prescribing project works one to one with people to identify the non-medical issues that are affecting their health and then looks at the range of services that could help. People going through the programme have seen significant improvements in their health conditions through a wide range of routes – all supported by their Social Prescriber who stays alongside them as they make the journey back to health.
Some people have taken part in community connections through art, others have found new friends by attending luncheon groups, and others have found help from more radical solutions. One such example is a group formed by a number of bereaved men who had all been individually referred to the service. All were suffering significantly and finding it hard to cope after the death of their wife.
The team identified that these men may benefit if they were given the chance to have some real conversations with other people in the same position, and with that, a new bereavement support group was launched. The group have been meeting regularly since early December 2018 and have already proved a huge source of support and friendship for each other.
The men speak warmly of how the support of the group has been life-changing (and in some cases, life-saving) for them:
‘You feel a lot easier when you get out and talk to people. I arrived age 82 but when I left I felt 59!’
‘If it was not for your service I would not have got through Christmas and I would not be here today’ (he was feeling suicidal before Christmas).
‘The group is helping me on a Wednesday. I needed somebody to understand it. I didn’t celebrate Christmas, but I felt that I could now get through it.’
Social Prescribing Support Worker Nicci Sutton-Kelsall says: ‘Identifying the need for this group is what social prescribing is all about. We are delighted at how effective the group has been. It’s fantastic to see all the men progressing really well and making good friendships. They are drawing great strength from this vital new source of support – the friendship of others who are on the same difficult journey of grief. There is now a lot more laughter in the group.’
The group meets every Wednesday at 1.30pm – 3pm. If you are interested in joining the group, do contact Nicci in the Social Prescribing Team at CVS on 01695-733737, or email firstname.lastname@example.org